Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price doesn’t know what he’s going to do when all his pitchers get healthy. Fortunately — or unfortunately depending on how you look at it — he still has time to think about it.
A team that began the season with five starting pitchers on the disabled list suffered another slight setback Tuesday when Alfredo Simon missed his scheduled start against the Rockies. Right biceps tendinitis has bothered Simon since the end of his first start April 8. He didn’t tell anyone until late Monday night.
“A lot of pitchers think they’re going to figure it out,” Price said, “and it’s going to go away and you’ll do whatever you can in a covert fashion to try to get yourself in a position to be able to pitch without making it a big deal.”
It didn’t take Price and the front office long to find a replacement for the second game of the series against the Rockies. Robert Stephenson, who made his big-league debut in the third game of the season April 7, was scheduled to start for Triple-A Louisville on Tuesday. Instead, he started for the Reds.
The Reds optioned relief pitcher Jumbo Diaz to Louisville to make room for Stephenson on the roster with the expectation that Simon will be able to make his next start and won’t go on the disabled list.
“Maybe with a few days of rest and (an anti-inflammatory injection), we’ll get the swelling out of there and he’ll be good to go,” Price said. “The closer we get to his start date, the better we’ll know if he’s going to be able to make that start.”
Simon hasn’t been on the DL since 2011 with the Orioles. He made 32 starts for the Reds in 2014 and 31 with the Detroit Tigers last season.
The pain caused Simon to drop his arm during his delivery, he said, and that cost him movement on his fastball. That helps explain why he allowed four earned runs in two-thirds of an inning in his second start against the Chicago Cubs on April 13. He allowed three earned runs in one inning of relief two days later.
“I don’t think it’s going to be a big deal,” Simon said. “I’ll be OK in a couple days. I can pitch, but I guess they don’t want it to get worse.”